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Happy birthday, Mom!

You know the night’s not going to go well when a strange Peruvian man starts the evening by toasting your mother’s “tetas”.

Yes, that’s spanish for tits. He was kind enough to translate.

My mother turned 60 today. We spent the day wandering the crooked streets of Santa Cruz with its hari krishnas and old women in fluorescent green tights and dreadlocked jugglers. And we ate fried artichoke hearts and scallops at the bottom of a canyon in the wine cellar of a 1930s home that kissed the side of a canal. 

Lovely, right?

To cap off the day, we decided to sit at a communal fire pit and toast my mother with a bottle of wine. That’s when Armundo decided to join us.

Sometimes it’s easier to speak to strangers. Sometimes the most beautiful moments of kindness and truth happen between totally unknown people. 

Unfortunately, this was not the case with Armundo.

Okay, he did share some interesting secrets. Armundo was at the same hotel as us celebrating his brother’s seventh wedding. Seventh. As for Armundo, we now know he’s been “clip-clipped” [insert hand motions of scissors snipping here] because he couldn’t handle having any more kids (“they talk so much”). He had those kids with a woman 13 years older than him, who somehow failed to mention the existence of her first four children before Armundo married her. That omission didn’t drive him to divorce, though. It was the constant nagging of his wife asking “who you fuck today?” that eventually drove a wedge between the two. 

Mind you, this is all within 10 minutes of sitting down with us.

My mother tried to interrupt him: “I’m with all of my children. And this is my husband of 37 years. And it’s my 60th birthday. We just wanted to have a quiet evening together.”

Armundo: “37 years? I don’t believe it. Everybody’s talking bullshit.”

I should have known better. When he asked if he could join us around the fire and we told him we were celebrating my mother’s birthday, he asked if he could make a toast. He said it first in Spanish: “Amor, salud y pesetas, y  mujeres gran tetas.”

It’s actually an old Spanish toast from Don Quijote, but that doesn’t make it any less awkward to hear quoted in front of your entire family: Love, health, money and women with beautiful tits.

Eventually, my father finally stepped in: “Perhaps you should go back to your wedding.”

Armundo: “You saying you want me to go?”

My father: “Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.”


  1. raju says:

    very funny…cracked me up

  2. Bruce Hopkins says:

    A variation of the lusty Spanish toasts we learned while living in Spain: “Amor, pesetas y fuerza en la bragueta (force in the fly)!